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  1. #1
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    Default Correct use of Esq

    What is the correct way to use Esq.
    Is is Fred Bloggs Esq. or F. Bloggs Esq.
    John

  2. #2
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Correct use of Esq

    Hello John

    I would write "Fred Q. Bloggs, Esq."

    But I haven't been able to find a source that maintains the use of Esq. with initials is incorrect; and I've certainly seen it often, including in older texts.

    MrP

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    Default Re: Correct use of Esq

    Sorry for the interruption.

    I noticed this abbreviation on several occasions, used mostly by the Americans in addressing the letters to persons who don't have any specific titles. Can you please develop the topic?

    Ewelina

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    Default Re: Correct use of Esq

    "Esquire" entered English because of the Norman French invasion of England in 1066. It means "bearer of a shield" in Old French, and was a necessary title for those Norman French in England who were not direct nobility, but needed to distinguish themselves from the common English peasantry. An "Esquire" was a servant to a knight, akin to a golf caddy, who carried the knight's shield.

    As the French influence faded in medieval England, mere English landowners adopted the term (modified to "Squire"), and it became a term used for minor "Lords of the Manor" who owned the majority of the land in a village, in order to indicate their superior social status.

    The codification of titles in England led to this 'title' becoming official for someone of status who was not a "Knight of the Realm", and it was abbreviated as "Esq." in publications such as Burke's Peerage, eventually becoming associated by the 18th Century with the professional classes, such as lawyers. Someone designated "Esq." was above the wastrel descendants of the upper classes, who were merely "gentlemen", but not true nobility. It was at his point in English history that the term was exported to the USA, where it remains to this day associated mainly with lawyers and attorneys.

    I know of no reason why there should be any distinction between full names and initials when using the honorific "Esq."

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    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Correct use of Esq

    Additionally, you should never write it in conjunction with "Mr", e.g.

    1. Mr Fred Q. Bloggs, Esq.

    Though it's probably best avoided, in any case.

    MrP

  6. #6
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Correct use of Esq

    As Coffa says, it was exported to the States; in the UK, I never see it used anymore.

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    Default Re: Correct use of Esq

    I get it, but what if it is used in business relations?

    Ewelina

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    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Correct use of Esq

    Hello Ewelina

    It's a long time since I received a letter marked "Esq." even my bank stopped using it some years ago. So I think it's probably safer to use "Mr".

    (If this isn't the case in the US, perhaps a passing N. American member will let us know.)

    MrP

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    Default Re: Correct use of Esq

    Years ago, we were taught that the honorific "Esquire" should only be used when addressing someone by their initials, as opposed to their whole name:
    F. Boggs, Esq. not Fred Boggs, Esq.
    This rule has probably changed since those Dark Ages when I went to school.


    The use of "Esq." in the U.S. is not as common as it once was; some attorneys find it pretentious. You'll see it used by mainly very old attorneys, who remember the good ol' days when everyone used "Esq." and very young one who are excited that they've finally passed the bar exam.

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    Default Re: Correct use of Esq

    I thought as much, so I was genuinely suprised to see this written down by my American colleague (a lawyer in his 40-ish to be exact) in a letter after the full name and surname of an addressee.

    Was it a sort of titlemania like anywhere else? I understand that lawyers in the English law system don't carry official titles. In Poland, they do, but rather in general terms and for politness' sake: Panie Mecenasie (for Mr.), Pani Mecenas (for Ms.).

    Ewelina

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